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Mets NL East Sunday Battleground: Offseason recap and grades

Mar 19, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a grand slam in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 19, 2021; Port St. Lucie, Florida, USA; New York Mets shortstop Francisco Lindor (12) hits a grand slam in the fourth inning against the St. Louis Cardinals during a spring training game at Clover Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
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Sep 10, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (10) is congratulated after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins by shortstop Didi Gregorius (not pictured) at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 10, 2020; Miami, Florida, USA; Philadelphia Phillies catcher J.T. Realmuto (10) is congratulated after hitting a solo home run in the fifth inning against the Miami Marlins by shortstop Didi Gregorius (not pictured) at Marlins Park. Mandatory Credit: Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

Philadelphia Phillies

Notable Additions: RP Jose Alvarado, SP Chase Anderson, RP Archie Bradley, SS Didi Gregorius, OF Matt Joyce, RP Brandon Kintzler, C Jeff Mathis, INF/OF Brad Miller, SP Matt Moore, C J.T. Realmuto, RP Tony Watson.

Notable Subtractions: RP Jose Alvarez (SF), SP Jake Arrieta (CHC), OF Jay Bruce (NYY), INF/OF Phil Gosselin (LAA), RP Heath Hembree (CLE), RP Tommy Hunter (NYM), RP Adam Morgan (CHC), RP David Phelps (TOR), RP Brandon Workman (CHC).

The Phillies had one thing they had to do to have any sort of shot at relevance for the 2021 season and that was re-sign the best catcher in baseball J.T. Realmuto. If they did not pay him after trading away Sixto Sanchez for him, Bryce Harper and all of Philadelphia would’ve been very upset.

To do that, the Phillies had to hire Dave Dombrowski to be their next President of Baseball Operations for the Phillies who was able to talk some sense into owner John Middleton and eventually Realmuto and the Phillies came to terms on a five-year $115.5 million-dollar deal.

Other than re-signing Realmuto, the Phillies didn’t make any big splash. They had one of the worst bullpens in Major League history last season and didn’t really improve it all that much. They did sign major league caliber arms like Archie Bradley, Jose Alvarado, and Brandon Kintzler, but they didn’t go out and get a Brad Hand or Liam Hendriks who have both been dominant for years.

I do expect the Phillies bullpen to be better, but not good enough to make them get where they want to be. I’m a believer in having a serviceable bullpen. It doesn’t have to be the best, but it at least has to have a closer you can rely upon. Hector Neris, Archie Bradley, Brandon Kintzler, whoever they choose just doesn’t fit the bill for me.

Another weakness I believe the Phillies have and failed to address was the back end of the rotation. Aaron Nola and Zack Wheeler at the front are very solid. They signed Matt Moore and Chase Anderson to compete for rotation spots with Zach Eflin, Spencer Howard, and Vince Velasquez. That’s not great.

The 2019 Nationals won the World Series with a bad bullpen but they had a couple of relievers they could rely upon and a dominant rotation. Outside of the first two starters, I’m not seeing any of that.

The saving grace of this Phillies team is their lineup. From top to bottom it should be among the best in baseball led by Bryce Harper and Realmuto. They also have young stud Alec Bohm and a returning Didi Gregorius who should provide boosts to the lineup.

The Phillies did make some improvements to their pitching and their depth but they weren’t big enough moves to get me really excited about their offseason. I expect them to have a similar record to what they’ve had in the last couple of years until they really improve their pitching.

Grade: C

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